Favorite thing: Connecticut's capital and largest city, Hartford is one of the oldest cities in the United States and can boast the country's oldest public art museum, public park, continuously published newspaper, and second-oldest secondary school.
The area that would eventually become Hartford was the site of a fort established at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut rivers in 1623 by Dutch fur traders from the New Netherland Colony. They abandoned their fort in 1654. However, before that, in 1635, the first English settlers arrived and established a village near the Dutch fort. They initially called their settlement Newtown, but soon changed it to Hartford after Hertford, England, the hometown of one of the original settlers.
The English settlers were led by Pastor Thomas Hooker and his followers, who had set out from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to establish a better Puritan community. Thomas Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the Fundamental Order of Connecticut, a document that invested the people with the authority to govern themselves, rather than be governed from above by a higher government authority. This document went on to inspire the Connecticut State Constitution, and ultimately the United States Constitution. This accounts for Connecticut's nickname of the Constitution State.
Eventually the Puritans were replaced by ship captains and merchant seamen, and then by manufacturers, financiers, and insurance companies. Insurance eventually became the most important segment of Hartford's economy, giving rise to its nickname of "The Insurance Capital of the World."
Nowadays, Hartford is the center of a metropolitan area with over 1,310,000 inhabitants, and is the economic, financial, and commercial center of the state.
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Favorite thing: When you get out of the big cities you will find that Connecticut has some amazing scenery. The hills are beautiful, and the trees are so green. The sun makes it all the more beautiful. If you're tied up in the city it won't take long to get out, only a few miles. You can thank me later. :)
This picture is not good but it still gives a hint...Related to:
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: Visit GILLETTE CASTLE off Route 9, south of Hartford. I understand that they just completed a four-year, $11.5 million restoration project, so it should be especially nice now. This is the former castle home of actor William Gillette, who was born in Hartford, CT and best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
Great place to take the kids and very interesting home. Very different too! You also have a gorgeous view of the Connecticut River valley. In nearby Essex you can take the scenic train along the river, or take a boat excursion down the river and across the sound to Long Island, NY for a day trip--that's a terrific trip too.
The castle is located at 67 River Road in East Haddam.
Gillette Castle State Park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset year-round. Self-guided castle tours are offered continuously from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily from Memorial Day weekend until Columbus Day. Admission to the grounds is free, but there is a charge of $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 17 to tour the castle. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Call ahead to make special arrangements if you are bringing a group.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Matthew emailed me an advertisement for this event along with a note saying wanna go see ASIA. Now all of us die hard 80's fan's remember who that is. Anyway, I jumped at the chance to ago under the circumstance that we would have to also tour a little bit of the area. He agreed in a heart beat. Well as things go, plans change and we ended up going on Saturday and I was only able to see the aquarium and the festival.
The festival is more like a carnival than an oyster festival. There are loads and loads of oysters, don't get me wrong, but there's alos rides, games, activities, live entertainment and so much more. I actually tried on oyster and didn't vommit. Patrick took one look at it and said heck no.
The festival itself has been around for over 25 years. It bring over 5 million annually into the Norwalk community and it helps to support a dozen or so local organizations. This is a yearly event and even though it's done for 2006, it will be back in 2007. If you're in the area, it's worth a stop. There is a $10 entrance fee for adults, $6 for senior, and $3 for children over age 5. Rides and games are extra folks so is the food.
Fondest memory: MY CAMERA BATTERIES DYING AND NOT BRINGING SPARES, GOOD THING MURATORI HAD HIS, I'LL POST A PIC OR TWO WHEN HE GETS THE FILM DEVELOPED. YOU READ RIGHT, HE USES FILM.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
So what did I really think of Connecticut wine?
Favorite thing: First of all I have to make one thing clear. I am not a wine snob. I don't think Robert Parker is a god. I don't subscribe to Wine Spectator. I don't sip a wine and roll it around my tongue and say "Hmmm, a slight nutty taste - Brazilian nuts - with a touch of kumquat and a very very slight hint of Thai basil with a sprinkling of freshly ground green peppercorns...." But I have to say, even to this wine unsnob, Connecticut wines are just not there yet. I'm sorry, all you Connecticut lovers. The Connecticut wines just don't compare to California wines. I'm not sure why - is it the soil? The climate? And the peach and apple wine. While it is kind of a novelty, it shouldn't be called wine. "Spoiled peach juice that sat in a vat too long" would be an adequate name for the peach varietal. Connecticut, please stick to peach preserves and apple sauce!Related to:
- Wine Tasting
It's all relative
Favorite thing: You know you're talking to someone from Connecticut when they say New Haven is a ghetto. Ha. I lived in Los Angeles. New Haven is not a ghetto. I can't tell you how many times I have heard Nutmeggers say Yale University is next to a rough neighborhood. This picture shows the "rough neighborhood" around Yale.
OK, I'll admit it. I don't see acreage, gates, horses, stables, tennis courts, a lacrosse field, or long winding driveways. But rough? George W. Bush was born in New Haven. I mean, how rough can it be? It's not as if New Haven is Compton, California.Related to:
- Study Abroad
Where Being First is Best
Favorite thing: In Connecticut, being first is a a very desirable thing. You want your ancestors to be the First Families. You want to descend from the founders of your town. You want to have the first law school in the country. Being one of the first families in your equestrian club is a very good thing.
This might not be the first church in the US, but it is pretty darn close. This is the First Church of Christ, first church in New Haven, consecrated in 1639 and is located on the green just outside Yale University.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Not everything at Yale is Gothic with spires, turrets, steep roofs and gargoyles. The School of Architecture has a strikingly different style. When I first saw it, I wondered if it was a Frank Lloyd Wright. It wasn't, but it was a good guess. The building was designed by Paul Rudolph, who was Chairman of the Department of Architecture at Yale University from 1958 to 1965, and heavily influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright.Related to:
- Study Abroad
From one extreme to the other
Favorite thing: Connecticut certainly didn't stick with the humble law school theme. In 1824, Yale Law School was founded. Its building goes to the other extreme. The Law School building rivals the Notre Dame in Paris, just about. Perhaps the most famous of all law schools in Connecticut, it educated and graduated some very famous people as well - Bill and Hillary Clinton are two examples.
Tuition here for 3 years would buy a house in some parts of the country - total is $117,000, and that doesn't even include living expenses.
When we visited the law school, we were told we could not take any pictures of the inside of the building. Why is that? Can anyone tell me?Related to:
- Study Abroad
Famous people go to humble Connecticut law schools
Favorite thing: Litchfield, Connecticut has the distinction of being the home of the first law school in the United States. It was the home of Tapping Reeve, an attorney, who gave his brother-in-law, Aaron Burr, legal training. This was the beginning of the Tapping Reeve Law School.
The law school, from outside appearances, is very unassuming. It's a mid-sized, very average looking house. You may be surprised to find out that this little school educated 2 vice-presidents, 101 United States congressmen, 28 United States senators, 6 cabinet members, 3 justices of the United States supreme court, 14 governors and 13 chief justices of state supreme courts before closing in 1733.
The Tapping Reeve Law School is open April through November. Since I was there in January, I could only walk around it and put my face up to the windows.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Fondest memory: Coming from Israel, I was fascinated with all the snow and ice. One doesn't get much of these in Tel-Aviv... No wonder I have so many ice picture in the travelogue.
Northwest is the best!
Favorite thing: I really love the small towns and big churches along Rt.8 from Torrington north to the Mass. border, the road itself is an adventure and the scenery is beautiful.
Fondest memory: I remember when I was a kid and we would drive the old Rt. 8 in my dad's GTO really fast and it was like a rollarcoaster ride! Luckily we never got in an accident!Related to:
- Road Trip
Some thing for everyone
Favorite thing: This is very hard,because there are so many things, but i think that spending a day down in the Mystic area,going to the seaport, with a stop over to the aqurium and walking around the mystic shops is a fantastic day....
There is alot to see in that area and some really good resturants, i like the steak loft my self..
Mystic Aqurium is a great place to learn about marine life, it also homes and rescues many animals for rehabitation....
Fondest memory: The season changes....
Housatonic River Valley
Favorite thing: The Housatonic River Valley is located in Western Connecticut along Route 7. This is a great destination during the Autumn months from the New York Metropolitan area. Only 2 hours from Manhattan, this area is a nice rural retreat. My must see activities on this page will concentrate on this part of Connecticut.
Essex Railroad & River Cruise
Favorite thing: Essex is a small town located approximately 20 miles to the west of New London. This town is close to where the Connecticut River meets the Long Island Sound. There is a nice railroad display here. There are also train excursions and river cruises on the Connecticut River here. For specific information, see my Essex page.
1157 Chapel Street, (Hotel Currently Under Renovation), New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, United States
Good for: Families
6 Hendel Drive, Mystic, Connecticut, 06355, United States
Good for: Business
2049 Norwich New London Turnpike, Uncasville, Connecticut, 06382, United States
Good for: Solo
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